With the Police Air Wing apparently in a shambles, a pivotal element in the aerial mobility of the law enforcement agency has been terribly derailed. The National Police Service needs an efficient and reliable flying section to enable the quick transportation of its officers to scenes of crime and to access the most remote parts of the country.
It is, therefore, hugely disappointing that whereas reforms in other sections of the police service are reportedly yielding the desired goals in enhancing the capacity to combat crime, the air wing is reeling under ineptitude. As a result, the resources that have been allocated to equip the section have just gone down the drain. Thanks to suspect or plainly poor decisions in the procurement of aircraft and other equipment, the police wing has been shamelessly turned into a graveyard of faulty helicopters and other disused aircraft.
Besides the wanting equipment, the staff are also highly demoralised as without aircraft, they cannot make any useful contribution to the efforts to up the fight against crime. The litany of shortcomings and other failures in this vital section of the police service are not just demoralising, but also an indictment of the management.
Even no-nonsense Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i will be disappointed to note that his own intervention has not made a difference. He might want to find out why two helicopters at whose launch he officiated have never left the ground. The authorities owe the public an explanation.
It is unforgivable that there has been no tangible return on investment in the air wing. There is need for urgent solutions to enable the air wing to ably discharge its mandate. The minimum effort should be to equip it with well-maintained aircraft. The leadership must urgently audit its performance, under close supervision from the Interior ministry. The immediate goal should be to trim its bloated staff and prioritise the repair of any of the few serviceable aircraft to get the police air wing flying once again.